What Are the Different Types of Leather?
Curious about different types of leather and how to care for them? Leather can be categorised by a variety of factors including:
- Type of animal
- Portion & Layer(s) of hide used
- Processing and treatment of leather
In this post, we will focus on the most common types to ensure you can best look after your leather products.
Calf leather is made from cattle hide and is one of the most popular leather used in luxury fashion brands including Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Prada.
Natural cattle hide undergoes a natural tanning process to create a soft, supple appearance. The leather is then dyed to a desired colour and then may be glazed, patented, embossed or grained or left as a natural unsealed finish. When looking for high quality calf leather handbags, look out for discolourations, bruising and blemishes.
Everyday care, cleaning and conditioning, and proper storage will help to prolong the lifespan of your calf leather product.
Lambskin leather originates from unshorn lamb and has appeal due to its buttery soft texture. It is commonly used in smaller handbags and clutches by brands such as Chanel and Burberry. There are two varieties, shearling lambskin which is napped, soft and similar to suede; and smooth lambskin which is a soft, fine-grained leather. A major drawback of lambskin leather is that it is less durable and can more susceptible to damage or deformation
On top of the basic care tips which you should be following for lambskin leather, it is particularly important to use a protector to prevent staining, dye transfer, water and sunlight damage.
Goatskin is one of the most durable leathers used for luxury handbags and shoes. Whilst very durable and resistant to light scratches, the trade off is that goatskin is a lot more stiff to touch compared to lambskin. However, this is still a natural skin and will need to be properly cared for to prolong the life of the leather. It is also still susceptible to denting so always store properly.
Suede is made by splitting animal hide to reveal the fuzzy underside. Suede leather is mostly commonly made from lamb, but can also be made from calf, deer, goat or pig. Suede is popular due to being more durable, having a soft texture and brushed appearance. A couple of drawbacks however are that suede absorbs moisture easily, and can also become dirty easily.
To clean suede, use a suede brush to lift away debris. To remove oil and grease marks, apply cornflour overnight. Use a dedicated suede or nubuck cleaning solution for more stubborn stains. To protect suede, use a protector as soon as you have purchased the suede good, as it acts as a barrier against dirt and water stains.
Patent leather has a glossy appearance due to a lacquer which is applied to the surface in the final preparation stages of the leather. Cowhide leather is most commonly used, although sheep, pigs and reptile skins are also used.
For routine cleaning, use The Buffer cloth to wipe the surface of the leather.
How to look after your leather products?
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